Legislators doing double duty on school funding bills this session

The Senate Education Committee approved the new Senate Bill 260, the “regular” school finance act bill, on April 11. The bill will fund schools in 2013-14 and is the second school funding bill the Legislature has tackled this year. Its sponsors are Sens. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada) and Pat Steadman (D-Denver), along with Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon).

The proposal includes about $5.5 billion in total program funding for school districts, some $200 million above what is in the current year budget. SB 260 funds inflation at 1.9% plus projected student enrollment growth, and “buys down” the negative factor.

This is the factor which has reduced each school district’s total program dollars and, overall in four years, reduced statewide school funding by more than $1 billion. Buying down this factor means districts would get more money next year, as the factor would be smaller than it is now. SB 260 cuts the negative factor by about $35 million.

The bill also includes increased categorical funding for special education; funding for all National Board Certified teachers to get a stipend; and increased slots for at-risk preschool students.

District-by-district numbers for SB 260 have not been released yet – maybe Monday.

The “future” school finance act, SB 213, is also in the mix, but has slowed from the initial plan of quick passage by both chambers. Sponsored by Sen. Michael Johnston (D-Denver), the bill was amended in the Senate before final passage April 2. The House Education Committee is scheduled to see it April 15.

Assuming SB 213 passes, its implementation is based on passage of a statewide ballot measure to increase state revenues for K-12 funding. If the voters approve the ballot measure (in the initiative titling process right now), SB 213 will take effect in 2015-16.

CEA has no position on SB 260 at this time and an “Amend” position on SB 213.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Colorado Legislature, K-12 Funding, Public Schools, School Funding

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